Philanthaxia jakli (left) is from Sumatra and Philanthaxia chalcogenoides (right) is from Borneo. Philanthaxia lombokana (not pictured) is from Lombok and Philanthaxia pseudoaenea (not pictured) is from Thailand. Photo by: Svatopluk Bílý and Oto Nakládal.
Researchers have discovered four new species of jewel beetles, one from Thailand and three from Indonesia. Jewel beetles, in the beetle family Bupretidae, are known for their iridescent colors.
The new species were brought to researchers by local people, so nothing is known about their habitat or ecology. All four are from the genus, Philanthaxia, making the number of known beetles in that genus to 65.
Globally, jewel beetles are some of the most diverse: over 15,000 species have been described.
Beetles are the undisputed champions of diversity, sporting more species than any other order of animals. Nearly half of all known insects in the world are beetle. Researchers have cataloged over 350,000 species. Yet, their diversity does not protect them from extinction. Oto Nakládal, a co-author of the study that describes the new beetles, warns that many beetles may be extinct before they are even known.
“Mankind is not even able to evaluate the real losses associated with species extinction, because every individual species is, as a rule, a result of millions of years of evolution and adaptation and has therefore its unique role in the ecosystems” he said in a press release.
CITATION: Bílý S, Nakládal O (2011) Four new species of the genus Philanthaxia Deyrolle, 1864 from Southeast Asia and comments on P. iris Obenberger, 1938 (Coleoptera, Buprestidae, Thomassetiini).ZooKeys 116 : 25–36, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.116.1403.
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